Accused of leaving wounded dogs uncared for while keeping others locked up in uncleaned pens, surrounded by their own urine and feces, a Stevens man is charged with felony aggravated cruelty to animals.
Three of the dogs appeared to have been wounded while fighting, according to authorities at the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
“One female had excessive amounts of scarring to her face along with more fresh, recent wounding,” a humane officer wrote in charging documents.
Those charges were filed this week against John F. Esh, 32, but authorities said they stem from a 2019 visit to a Stevens property, where he kept numerous dogs of multiple breeds.
Acting on a tip from a state dog warden in March 2019, humane officers used a search warrant to access the property, where Esh said he owned all dogs on site, according to charging documents.
There, officers said they first found a dog, which appeared to be a large English mastiff, laying in an enclosure, unable to put weight on an injured paw. The dogs ears also were leaking fluids, showing signs of a possible infection, officers said.
At a nearby kennel-like structure, multiple dogs were locked inside with an "excessive amount of feces,” officers said, noting that one had a “severely” swollen, injured hind leg that was left untreated.
Dogs were kept in similar conditions elsewhere on the property, authorities said, also pointing out an area where multiple puppies were living with no place to seek shelter. The puppies stomachs were bloated, signaling that they were full of intestinal parasites, according to charging documents.
Online court documents show that Esh was arraigned on charges Thursday morning.
Esh now faces two felony charges of aggravated cruelty to animals causing serious injury or death, as well as a misdemeanor charge of animal neglect. That’s in addition to 25 related summary offenses.
Esh is free from jail on $10,000 unsecured bail.